Many black Americans know someone with hypertension (high blood pressure or HBP) such as someone in their family, if they don’t have it themselves. According to the American Heart Association the rate for HBP in blacks is the highest in the world. Also known as the “silent killer,” it develops in blacks early in life and is known to be severe.
One way to help keep blood pressure under control is to eat a good diet that is good for your heart. Food options to consider should be those to help reduce risk of other health concerns such as stroke, heart attack and heart disease.
Since HBP can lead to any of these concerns now is the time to make changes to your diet. This doesn’t have to be difficult and it can be done overtime. Here are a few simple points to help you get on track with eating a heart-healthy diet.
- Learn which foods provide quality nutrition you need. Keep trans and saturated fats along with sodium and added sugar intake to a minimum. Understanding healthy foods needed leads to making more positive choices when creating a food plans for yourself and family. Research different fruits, veggies, low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean meat options to get more insight on what nutrients your body gets and how they help keep your heart healthy. Other options include foods high in fiber, whole grains and fatty fish with a good source of omega 3.
- Pay attention to food labels. Not only does this encourage you to be a smart shopper, but it gives more insight on what you are consuming and how to cut back or eliminate certain ingredients that contribute to high blood pressure. Consider products that are fat free or cholesterol free. If you want to reduce sodium intake consider products that are low in fat and low sodium. Be careful when considering certain products and make sure you clearly understand specific terms, what they mean and how they are used.
- Look for products specially marked by the American Heart Association. These products meet special standards by the organization including cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium for nutritional needs. The marking on food packaging to look for is a red heart with a white checkmark.
- Find an effective eating plan to stick with such as the D.A.S.H eating plan. This plan has been helpful to African Americans with high blood pressure. An eating plan ensures you get proper nutrition without putting your health at further risk. Depending on your personal needs you can create a similar plan best for you with your doctor or dietitian.